ANU Investments in Fossil Fuels

Tom Swann made this Freedom of Information request to Australian National University

The request was partially successful.

From: Tom Swann

Delivered

Dear Australian National University,

Under the FOI Act, I would like to request all documents held by the University, created by any author, meeting the following criteria:

a) documents created during 2011 or 2012, which refer to the University's ownership and/or sale of shares in Metgasco;

b) documents created during 2012, which refer to the University's purchase, sale or ownership of shares in any company which generates revenue from oil, coal, gas (conventional or unconventional), or uranium, whether from extraction, refinement or energy generation;

c) documents created during 2012, which relate to criteria or assessment of environmental impact for University investment, whether through shares, managed funds or other means.

Please take each as an individual request, and advise if clarification is required.

Yours faithfully,

Tom Swann

Link to this

From: Sue Clarke
Australian National University


Attachment 2013 1 29 Freedom of Information Acknowledgement.pdf
295K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Swann,

 

Please find attached acknowledgement of your recent Freedom of Information
request.

 

Yours sincerely,

Sue Clarke

 

Sue Clarke
Assistant Manager/FOI Officer
University Records
Chancelry, Building 10A
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200

Telephone: + 61 2 6125 6430
Facsimile: + 61 2 6125 5571

Email: [email address]

CRICOS Provider #00120C

 

Link to this

From: records.manager@anu.edu.au
Australian National University

Dear Mr Swann,

 

The due date for a decision on your Freedom of Information request is
12^th February 2013. Due to the complexity of the search for documents and
the fact that relevant staff have been on leave in January, I am asking
that you agree to an extension of time to complete processing under
Section 15AA of the Act. I am requesting an extension until Thursday 14^th
March 2013. Could you let me know as soon as practicable if you agree to
this as I must notify the Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner (OAIC) of the extension.

 

Yours sincerely,

Sue Clarke

 

 

Sue Clarke
Assistant Manager/FOI Officer
University Records
Chancelry, Building 10A
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200

Telephone: + 61 2 6125 6430
Facsimile: + 61 2 6125 5571

Email: [email address]

CRICOS Provider #00120C

 

Link to this

From: Sue Clarke
Australian National University

Dear Mr Swann,

 

I have yet to receive a response to my request for an extension of time to
process your Freedom of Information request. Could you please respond as
soon as possible as I am required to notify the Office of the Australian
Information Commission (OAIC) of any extensions to processing time.

 

Yours sincerely,

Sue Clarke

 

From: [email address]
Sent: Tuesday, 5 February 2013 12:31 PM
To: 'Tom Swann <[FOI #43 email]>
([FOI #43 email])'
Subject: Freedom of Information - request for extension of processing time

 

Dear Mr Swann,

 

The due date for a decision on your Freedom of Information request is
12^th February 2013. Due to the complexity of the search for documents and
the fact that relevant staff have been on leave in January, I am asking
that you agree to an extension of time to complete processing under
Section 15AA of the Act. I am requesting an extension until Thursday 14^th
March 2013. Could you let me know as soon as practicable if you agree to
this as I must notify the Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner (OAIC) of the extension.

 

Yours sincerely,

Sue Clarke

 

 

Sue Clarke
Assistant Manager/FOI Officer
University Records
Chancelry, Building 10A
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200

Telephone: + 61 2 6125 6430
Facsimile: + 61 2 6125 5571

Email: [1][email address]

CRICOS Provider #00120C

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

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Henare Degan left an annotation ()

Hi Tom,

I got a call from David at the ANU about their request for an extension because they're keen to get your agreement.

If they don't hear back from you they can apply to the OAIC for an extension or simply let this request lapse (it then becomes "deemed refusal").

Either of those options will probably mean your request takes longer.

Note you don't need to agree to the full extension they've requested. You could always offer them a compromise, such as 15 days instead of the 30 they've requested.

I hope this helps.

Henare
Right To Know volunteer

Link to this

From: Sue Clarke
Australian National University


Attachment Freedom of Information request ANU Investments in Fossil Fuels.txt
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Attachment Freedom of Information request for extension of processing time.html
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Attachment FW Freedom of Information request for extension of processing time.html
8K Download


Dear Sir or Madam,

 

I am writing to request an s15AB extension for an FOI request made by
applicant Tom Swann contactable at
[1][FOI #43 email].

Details of the access request

Tom Swann lodged an FOI access request (complying with s15) with The
Australian National University (ANU) on 15^th January 2013 (see attached).
The ANU is due to make a decision on the applicant's request by 12^th
February 2013.

Period of s 15AB extension sought

The ANU requests a 30 day extension under s15AB. This would make the new
due date for a decision 14^th March 2013.

Reasons

o The reason for requesting an extension is the complexity of the search
for documents related to the request and the absence of key staff that
needed to be consulted with who were on leave during January 2013.

·         The applicant has requested a subject of information which
requires consultation with key staff who have been unavailable (see
request attached dated 15th January 2013). This has prevented a
comprehensive search for all information and consultation concerning the
possible exemption of information under the provisions of the FOI Act.

·         Determining the estimate of charges was difficult given the time
required to conduct a comprehensive information search and making of a
decision.

·         On 5th and 8th February 2012 and in accordance with s15AA of the
FOI Act the ANU sent an email to the email address provided by the
applicant requesting agreement from the applicant for a 30 day extension
of time so that the decision can be provided by 14th March 2013 (see
attached).

·         As yet we have not received a response from the applicant or any
other person.

·         I believe that the applicant’s application was forwarded to the
ANU via the automated message messaging service of the Right To Know
project website ([2]http://www.righttoknow.org.au/). The emailed
application received by the ANU and the Right To Know website do not
contain either a personal email or telephone contact details of the
applicant. As such, we are unable to contact the applicant either by
telephone or by an alternative email address.

·         The ANU will keep the applicant informed by the contact email
address provided by the applicant as to the progress of the review and
collation of the documents.  The ANU will endeavour to provide access to
the documents before any extension if agreed by the applicant or
Information Commissioner.

Below is a breakdown of how the ANU would use the extended period for
processing the request. It sets out the actions still required on the
request along with estimated dates for when the ANU will complete those
actions:

·         By 18^th February – receipt of relevant documents from staff who
have been absent from the University

·         By 4^th March – examination, consideration, collation, listing
of documents

·         By 11^th March - consultation with relevant staff regarding
application of possible exemptions and release of documents

·         By 14^th March – drafting and forwarding of decision letter to
applicant

Yours faithfully,

Sue Clarke

Sue Clarke
Assistant Manager/FOI Officer
University Records
Chancelry, Building 10A
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200

Telephone: + 61 2 6125 6430
Facsimile: + 61 2 6125 5571

Email: [email address]

CRICOS Provider #00120C

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[FOI #43 email]
2. http://www.righttoknow.org.au/

Link to this

From: Tom Swann

Delivered

Dear Sue Clarke, ANU FOI Officer,

Cc: Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)

I write regarding the ANU's request to the OAIC under Section 15AB of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (S15AB FOI Act) to extend the deadline for responding to my request for documents under the Act.

The ANU has requested a further 30 days, until 14 March 2012. I note the ANU's concerns about the complexity of the request and the absence of key staff during January.

I requested the documents on 15 January. The ANU first requested permission from me for an extension, under Section 15AA of the FOI Act, on 5 February. That was three weeks after my original request. Three days later the ANU again contacted me to request an extension. Later that day it lodged the request to the OAIC under S15AB.

+ Acknowledgement

I thank the ANU for first attempting to arrange an extension on agreed terms.

I apologise for not responding in the recent days since the ANU's S15AA request. It would have been appropriate for me to indicate I was considering the request and would respond shortly.

As I understand it, under the Act the ANU is not required to attempt to receive my permission for an extension before it requests one from the OAIC directly, nor is my slight delay in responding to the S15AA request relevant for the S15AB application.

+ Concerns

I am concerned by the slow progress in processing my requests.

The ANU cites grounds of staff leave during January. The ANU requested an extension only on 5 February, three weeks after I lodged my requests.

According to the ANU's proposed extended timetable for processing, the the relevant documents would only be located, not yet considered for release, by 18 February. The original deadline for a full response to my requests was 12 February.

I am also concerned the ANU is asking for an extension for all three requests together. In my original email, I made three different requests for documents, according to three different criteria, and specifically asked each to be considered as a separate request. Extensions should be differentiated as relevant to each request.

+ Request re Metgasco

I requested:

"a) documents created during 2011 or 2012, which refer to the University's ownership and/or sale of shares in Metgasco;"

This does not appear to be a complex request. I note also that you have not indicated that any of my three requests would be voluminous to process, the other grounds for extension under S15AB.

I do not therefore see an extension as appropriate in this case.

However, the Commissioner here has the authority to deem an extension appropriate.

I note continued public interest in ANU's holdings in Metgasco, indeed also in the progress of this particular request (see 'ANU yet to make good on Metgasco stock sale promise' 25 Jan 2013 - [1]).

Given this public interest in the ANU's response to my request, and given its relative simplicity, I would urge the OAIC and the ANU to pursue an extension of no more than week for this request, that is, to extend to 19 February at the latest.

+ Requests re Fossil Fuel Investments and Environmental Investment Standards

I appreciate that my other two requests are of a more complex nature. If the OAIC considers it relevant, I would be less adverse to extensions in these cases were it to help expedite the request relating to Metgasco. This seems to me a reasonable compromise.

+ Charges

As I have made three different requests, it would in my view would be appropriate to indicate charges for processing each of the requests separately. If there are charges that will apply to processing any such request but will not be duplicated across each, this should also be indicated.

I note also reasons I may cite for waiver or reduction of any charges. As I am a student, significant charges will place me in a position of financial hardship. In addition, the documents are in the public interest, relate to criteria of environmental impact and governance outlined in the ANU's own FOI release guidelines as matters in the public interest, and relate to matters currently attracting public debate.

I acknowledge I can only request charge waiver or reduction once charges have been outlined.

+ Further correspondence

I would urge the ANU to indicate any ways that I can clarify my request, especially as this will minimise cost and help target the documents most in the public interest.

Given the public interest in these documents, I also request all communication continue through this email chain, which will ensure it is published on the Right to Know website.

I will join the ANU in continuing to maintain prompt responses, including to indicate that previous responses are currently being considered and when a full response can be expected.

Sincerely,

- Tom Swann

[1] http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/anu-...

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From: Sue Clarke
Australian National University

Dear Mr Swann,

Thank you for your reply to my email.

I ask that you confirm some points you have raised.

You urge the OAIC and the ANU to pursue an extension of no more than week for this request, that is, to extend to 19 February at the latest. Could you confirm that you are agreeable to an extension for the decision on your FOI request until the 19th February 2013.

You also state that you specifically asked that each part (a, b & c) of your request to be considered as a separate request. Could you confirm that you require a separate response for each criteria of your application, including a separate decision letter.

I am able to inform you that our office has been unable to locate documents in relation to part c) of your request.

I am also able to inform you that our office has been unable to locate documents in relation to b) documents created during 2012, which refer to the University's purchase, sale or ownership of shares in any company which generates revenue from uranium, whether from extraction, refinement or energy generation.

Please feel free to contact me either by telephone or email if you have any enquiries or need clarification regarding these matters.

Yours sincerely,

Sue Clarke

Sue Clarke
Assistant Manager/FOI Officer
University Records
Chancelry, Building 10A
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200
Telephone: + 61 2 6125 6430
Facsimile: + 61 2 6125 5571
Email: [email address]
CRICOS Provider #00120C

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From: Tom Swann

Delivered

Dear Sue Clarke,

I write to confirm I am happy to endorse an extension until 19 February for request a).

For the outstanding parts of request b), I would appreciate a response to these as soon as possible, but am happy to see these extended for up to 30 days from the original deadline. Can you please confirm when you expect to respond about these requests.

I am not concerned about receiving separate letters about separate requests.

I also wish to clarify your response regarding request c), asking for : "documents created during 2012, which relate to criteria or assessment of environmental impact for University investment, whether through shares, managed funds or other means."

I wish to clarify that this means the ANU found no documents created by anyone during 2012 relating to environmental impact criteria, ie general principles, nor about any form of assessment of environmental impact for ANU investments, ie specific assessment of environmental impact for particular potential or real investments.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Swann

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From: Sue Clarke
Australian National University


Attachment Extended timeframe for consultation 3rd party consultation.pdf
255K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Swann,

Thank you for your response and agreement to an extension of time to process your requests. We have, however, discovered documents containing third party information and as such are notifying you of an extended timeframe to allow for consultation under s 27A of the Act (please see attached letter).

Thank you also for clarification regarding correspondence relating to the separate requests.

In relation to your request for clarification, I can confirm that ANU have been unable to locate "documents created by anyone during 2012 relating to environmental impact criteria, ie general principles, nor about any form of assessment of environmental impact for ANU investments, ie specific assessment of environmental impact for particular potential or real investments".

Please feel free to contact me if you need any clarification regarding this matter.

Yours sincerely,
Sue Clarke

show quoted sections

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From: Sue Clarke
Australian National University


Attachment Decision Letter Tom Swann.pdf
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Attachment Table of DOC FULL Release applicant copy.doc
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Attachment Table of DOC EXEMPT applicant copy.doc
186K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Swann,

 

Please find attached the decision letter and tables of documents regarding
your Freedom of Information request.

 

Yours sincerely,

Sue Clarke

 

 

Sue Clarke
Assistant Manager/FOI Officer
University Records
Chancelry, Building 10A
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200

Telephone: + 61 2 6125 6430
Facsimile: + 61 2 6125 5571

Email: [email address]

CRICOS Provider #00120C

 

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Alex Sadleir left an annotation ()

I believe this is the newspaper article which was the only document they planned to release is available for free @ http://dev.woroni.com.au/articles/news/a...

To the applicant, you'll be pleased to know that an FOI charge is not a debt and you do not have to pay for this request if you do not want the 0 documents released http://www.oaic.gov.au/publications/guid... (paragraph 33).

This may seem unfair to ANU but if they had been following the FOI Act properly, they should have asked for a deposit after they identified the documents that related to your request. http://www.oaic.gov.au/publications/guid...

If you choose to ask for an internal or Information Commissioner review and you wanted documents that were then available to you to be released, you would then have to pay the charge. It is regrettable that ANU has not acknowledged your financial hardship and public interest criteria for a reduced fee.

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Henare Degan left an annotation ()

This request was mentioned in this article: http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/anu-...

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From: Tom Swann

Delivered

Dear Sue Clarke,

I am considering your response and will respond shortly.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Swann

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Alex Sadleir left an annotation ()

A recent Information Commissioner decision may relate to the deliberative exemption relied upon to withhold these documents http://www.oaic.gov.au/publications/deci...

Of particular relevance is the "Annual Report", "Transaction Report" and "Summary of Holdings and Values" documents. The titles suggest that like the reports in the decision, they were final versions/end results intended to be distributed from one party to another not a draft or working document:
"The Guidelines further explain that the decision or conclusion reached at the end of a deliberative process is not deliberative matter for the purposes of s 47C."

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From: Tom Swann

Delivered

Dear Australian National University,

I seek internal review of ANU's decision to refuse public access to 54 documents about ANU's investments in fossil fuels that I requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

I have uploaded my letter outlining concerns I request ANU consider on review. It can be found here:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4OaRwik...

Please let me know if you would like this sent in another format.

In this letter I ask ANU to consider:

1. that ANU failed to redact relevant information from the documents in order to make their release reasonable, as required by s22 of the Act;

2. that documents ANU assessed as conditionally exempt, because they contain ‘deliberative matter’, may contain matter that is not deliberative as determined s47C of the Act, including because covered by exemptions;

3. whether ANU must publish these documents because they contain ‘operational information’ under s8 of the Act;

4. that ANU assessed exemption of most documents by finding “no public interest in release” rather than that release is contrary to the public interest as required by s11A(5) of the Act;

5. that there are many substantial public interest factors favouring in the release of these documents, including as defined by ANU’s own guidelines for factors favouring disclosure.

Yours faithfully,

Tom Swann

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From: records.manager@anu.edu.au
Australian National University

Dear Mr Swann,

I refer to your attached email with regards to your request for an internal review of the University's decision made concerning your FOI request.

In the decision letter forwarded to you on 4th March 2013 we advised that if you wished to make an application for an internal review it must be made in writing to:

Executive Director (Administration & Planning)
Building 10
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200

Or via email: [email address]

Could you please forward your request to the Executive Director in writing or via email to the above address.

Yours sincerely,

Sue Clarke

show quoted sections

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Alex Sadleir left an annotation ()

Information Commissioner Guideline 9.14
"Two requirements are specified in s 54B(1) for a person to apply for internal review:
the application must be in writing (***which includes an email*** or any other form of electronic communication permitted by the Electronic Transactions Act 1999),
and the application must be made within the specified time limit (s 54B(1))."

http://www.oaic.gov.au/publications/guid...

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From: Ron Watts
Australian National University


Attachment Internal Review T Swann 29 April 2013.pdf
262K Download View as HTML


Link: [1]File-List

Dear Mr Swann

 

Please find attached a decision letter in relation to your request for an
internal review of your FOI request.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Ron Watts FAHRI GAICD

 

Office of Vice-Chancellor  | Chancelry 10 | The Australian National
University | Canberra ACT 0200  

T: + 61 2 6125 8486  | CRICOS Provider #00120C

 

"Please consider the environment before printing this email

 

IMPORTANT:  The contents of this email message and any documents attached
to it may be privileged and confidential.

Any unauthorised use is strictly prohibited. If you receive this email in
error, please accept my apologies and delete it. Thank you.

 

References

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From: Sue Clarke
Australian National University


Attachment Released documents.zip
7.4M Download


Dear Mr Swann,

 

Please find attached documents for release relating to your Freedom of
Information request.

 

Yours sincerely,

Sue Clarke

 

Sue Clarke
Assistant Manager/FOI Officer
University Records
Chancelry, Building 10A
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200

Telephone: + 61 2 6125 6430
Facsimile: + 61 2 6125 5571

Email: [email address]

CRICOS Provider #00120C

 

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Alex Sadleir left an annotation ()

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Tom Swann left an annotation ()

Articles including comment about this FOI release:

Canberra Times 13 May
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news...
CityNews – 13 May
http://citynews.com.au/2013/activists-ex...
Woroni, Edition 7- Front page

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Things to do with this request

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